From Marigolds to heartsease


No, not gardening, not this time, just a silly pun. No, it’s the protocols of heartbreak that concern us here. I’d forgotten. See, we’ve had something of a romantic setback in the house. No names, no pack drill, but texts have been exchanged and that, it appears, is that. Except of course, on the receiving end, ‘that’ is only the beginning. Oh, how it all flooded back – the sense of outrage, of bewilderment and, more than anything, of nausea. As a helpless bystander all I’ve been able to do is wring my hands, mutter dark imprecations against the scoundrel and leave family-sized bars of Dairy Milk outside the tightly shut bedroom door. 

Still, as Woody Allen said, the heart is a very resilient little muscle. Whenever I’ve been minced and left for dead by Cupid’s cross-Channel ferry, I spend around 48 hours tottering about like a cartoon character released from a giant bell. After two days of sporadic weepings and not-eatings, something stirs (usually, ‘Hang on, doesn’t this make him a total dickhead?’) and I start cleaning. This is obviously some transparently psychological Augean Stables-style cleanse, but on the other hand, it’s also generally well founded. The previous two to three months have (hopefully) been spent in such a champagne-tinted bubble of heedless, loved-up gaiety that it did not admit of such mundane considerations as hoovering. In short, amorous adventure turned me, unnoticed, into a slattern. Starry-eyed, maybe, but still a slattern.

Last night (day 3) I was just wondering if anyone else manifested heartbreak housework as I turned the key in the front door – and nearly tripped over two huge stacks of old magazines in the hall. The sound of Skyped merriment floated down the stairs; the kitchen bin was purple with chocolate wrappers.

Yes, all in all, I think we’re going to be fine.


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